Cover Image: The Middle Matters

The Middle Matters

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In The Middle Matters, Lisa-Jo Baker has written an inspiring book explaining why our middle years still matter. In today's world, it sometimes seems that women over 40 just disappear, when in reality, we're taking care of husband, home, and children. We're frequently working outside our homes, and possibly caring for aging parents. In this excess of busyness, we lose sight of the fact that we matter, too.

Lisa-Jo's book gives us permission: Permission to slow down, permission to draw closer to God, encouragement to find our tribe, and permission to take time for ourselves.

I would highly recommend this title to any woman seeking encouragement.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a free digital copy of this title to review from Net Galley.

#TheMiddleMatters#NetGalley
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I initially put off reading this book. I opened to the first page where Lisa talks about muffin tops and closed it thinking "she's so much older/ahead of me in life, I won't be able to relate." Granted that I was in my mid 30s, so not THAT much further behind than the middle of life she talks about. I picked it up again and even if her stories were very different from mine, they were entertaining. She's funny, vulnerable, and really does get the message through that all of the pieces of your life matter even if they seem mundane or unimportant.  It made me optimistic about the middle age years and also made me curious about what my own middle years will look like. This book made me interested in grabbing some of her other books like Never Unfriended. It's clearly broken up into sections about marriage, friendship, parenting, faith so a reader can jump into the sections that fit their own lives or read the entire thing.
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Although roughly a decade older than the author I still found her personal stories and points of view relevant to my experience of mid life. This was an easy and entertaining read, the points she writes about lead to thinking more broadly about things that matter to us. Though not religious I didn’t find quotes from the bible distracted from the lessons suggested by the author. A good read on my Kindle for which I’m grateful to Netgalley and publisher; my digital copy was in exchange for my honest review.
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“The middle is the place where we might have outgrown the shape of our teenage jeans but ave finally grown into the shape of our souls.” This sums up Lisa-Jo’s book “The Middle Matters” The author talks about how our bodies and lives change as we get older and how we can embrace that change.

Each chapter is an intimate reflection on midlife, Lisa-Jo invites us to get a good look at our. Middles and gives us permission to embrace them—beyond what the media, the mirror, the magazines or our teenagers say. The author knows that the middle might be the best part of the love story of life, faith, doubt and marriage.

I enjoyed reading the chapter and found myself relating to her although I am over 50, I could still relate. 

I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I felt like Lisa-Jo and I were having a convo over coffee; as she shared her stories, I often laughed aloud and thought about parallels in my own life.

The Middle Matters is a beautifully written essay-style memoir specifically for women in the middle years. This book reminded me to slow down and savor the ordinary moments of this extraordinary God-given life.
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This book was more or a memoir than I expected. I expected it to be a self-help book. But I still enjoyed all the stories. And I think they could be enjoyed by people who aren't middle aged as well.
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This was my first time reading something by Lisa-Jo Baker but it won't be the last! I loved her beautiful storytelling style and found myself in so many of these stories. Reading these stories is so helpful and inspiring because it helps me see that the things I experience are not unique and that we all have to the same challenges as we get older.
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The Middle Matters is a collection of short stories, broken into sections, that is easily readable and applicable to women at any stage. Thank you, Lisa-Jo Baker, for writing such a relevant book!
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This book was very refreshing.   I wouldn't call this a devotional, but instead more meeting a new friend pointing out truths and wisdom from every day life.  I wasn't familiar with Lisa-Jo Baker before, but I resonate with her down to earth approach.  The book lives up to its name in that all of its short essays have to do things that happen in the middle of life during the middle of our life.
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I think I would give this book 4.5 stars. Overall I did like it. But I think originally when I requested this title from net galley, I thought that it would be more instructional on why the middle part of life matters and less memoir. That being said, Lisa-Jo Baker is a great story teller. The issues that she addressed in this book are one tackled by wives and mothers who are in the middle of it all - marriage, parenting, work-life balance and following Jesus. Even kids sports is one of the featured thoughts.

This book is probably not for someone who is single. Sections could apply to those who are widowed or divorced. Yet the stories are heart warming.  Lisa- Jo is equally as honest about her failures as she is about her successes.   Through it all, it is apparent that relationships matter - especially our ones with Jesus. 

This would be a fun book to share in a friend book club. Since there are several chapters on each book topic, there would be plenty to talk about several weeks. Overall I would recommend it, and all opinions are my own.
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I currently find myself in the middle of life: navigating transitions, launching children out of the home and into the world, and figuring out what the next chapter of my life is going to look like. My husband and I were married young and were even younger parents. We've never experienced what it's like to be a childless couple (except for about a year when we were dating) and so we enter a new territory during this middle part of our lives. Lisa-Jo Baker's book was just what I needed to read because, in this time of new and different and what's next, we are still living our every day, ordinary lives. Her book is like the girlfriend you meet for coffee once a week to dish about how you are navigating it all and what's working and what's not and can't we just slow do a minute and process it please and thank you? It was a quick and easy read and I would recommend it for anyone in the middle of a big change, or the middle of their beautiful, ordinary life.
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Thank you Net Galley for the opportunity to review this book for my honest opinion. This is a great book for my season of life, which is the middle since I'm 40 with young kids. I've struggled in much the same areas Lisa Jo struggled. It's not going to answer the really tough questions but wil lead you to the One who will answer the questions, maybe not on this side but maybe on the other side. This book was an encouragement to my walk with Christ.
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Since this is literally the point of life I’m in right now, and Lisa-Jo has such a relatable style (like you’re sitting down and chatting with a friend), The Middle Matters was a quick and easy read for me.

It’s about being comfortable with where you are at – and quite honestly, one can feel a bit lost when your kids are growing older, you are dealing with an entirely different body than the one you entered your marriage with twenty (or so) years ago…and life in general is just different (for lack of a better word).

Through her anecdotal stories, Lisa-Jo encourages us to embrace the messy, ever-changing, not-what-we-expected glory in every moment of every day (the bad along with the good) and see all that God is doing in and with us. She is open, honest, and encouraging – all wonderful things.
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I received a advanced copy of this book as part of the launch team in exchange for my honest review.
This book was so much fun to read, from her personal stories, to the layout of the book.  The only issue I have it’s more for the 40ish age women, so most of what she writes about didn’t pertain to me.  I did like her Section on “Why the Middle of Your Faith Matters.”  I passed it on to my daughters to read and hope they can enjoy it as well.
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Baker's writing style is open, honest, and conversational, similar to online blogs. It is easy to read, not preachy, and you can immediately sense the love she has for her family, friends, and God. However, the book is not what I expected. The subtitle of this book is somewhat misleading. It should say "Why that (extra)ordinary life looks really good on me." (Not you.) It is a collection of essays and vignettes about the author's life as a 40ish middle-class wife, mom, and Christian woman. Extremely personal and specific, the stories do not cross boundaries into the varied and differing lives of other middle-aged women. I am middle-aged, a woman, and a Christian, and while a few of the stories resonate with me, most of them do not. I am not married to the same kind of man and my children are unlike hers in every imaginable way. I was disappointed and skimmed many of the sections. If you are aware of this, however, and are interested in an up-close view of the author's life, then this book is for you and you will absolutely love it.
I received an e-version of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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This was a lovely read, which felt like talking to a friend about all the ways life changes in this middle stage.  Baker’s writing is warm and deeply personal so this is part memoir part exhortation.  I read it quite slowly, a few chapters at a time and think I’ll dip in and out of it again.
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Title:  The Middle Matters
Author:    Lisa-Jo Baker
Genre:  Christian, Self-Help
Rating:  4 out of 5

The best-selling author of Never Unfriended opens up about midlife and what it feels like to have outgrown those teenage jeans, but finally grown into the shape of our souls.

For everyone who is still caught off-guard when someone calls you ma’am—even though you don’t recognize the newest tween celebrities or have a prayer of fitting into those old jeans. You’re an adult now. You’d think you’d be used to that…

The Middle Matters is a look at an “ordinary” life—from the inside—and just how extraordinary it can be. Because a life well-lived is where the beauty is. No matter how ordinary you think your life is.

The stories and anecdotes made this book so relatable! I enjoyed every single page, even the ones I truly couldn’t relate to (not having kids will do that to you sometimes). This book is like your best friend or your older sister giving you solid advice as she talks about the realities of life. 

Lisa-Jo Baker is a former attorney and an author. The Middle Matters is her newest book.

(Galley courtesy of WaterBrook & Multnomah via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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Lisa-Jo Baker is a gifted writer, there is no doubt. Her words flow in all of her writing as if her heart is guiding every word, and it shows.

This book is a welcome addition to her other already-adored works, with a focus on life in the 40s. It’s a reflection on personal anecdotes, relatable concepts, and universal truths.

It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly it is that’s so magnetic about Baker’s writing - the best way I can describe it is it seems like she’s speaking from deep in her soul. Her words are like poetry, God-driven and -given, and a pleasure to read. She is courageous, and funny, and real. You feel like you're hanging out with a dear friend when you read this.

Throughout, she touches on some tricky and challenging concepts, like what happens when Mom is the one that messes up; how to handle the devastation your child can and will likely face; happy moments, trying moments, and sorrowful moments.

I get the strong feeling that this will be a book I pick up repeatedly over time. She is gifted as a writer, and her words are a refreshing take on motherhood in a world where it's easy to get immersed in hot-mess mommy culture.
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I was so excited to hear about this book. I had quite a few laughs and thank the author for her honesty. As I read I could relate as now in experiencing those middle years also. I would definitely recommend this to anyone going through those middle years.
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Before requesting this book, I hadn’t heard of Lisa Jo Baker. Since I also blog about my journey through midlife, I’m always on the lookout for books that relate to the subject. This book isn’t a self-help manual as I thought it would be. The Middle Matters mainly shares stories of Lisa’s plight with her marriage, parenting, and relationships. I am glad to know that I have been through similar situations (so have my friends). We are learning there is a light at the end of this middle-aged tunnel. You will find all of the chapters refreshingly honest accounts of her life. There are religious references and talks of her faith. If these are an issue, this book may not be the best for you.
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